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Child stabbing raises awareness about online safety for youths

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Until earlier this month I had no idea who Slenderman was. It wasn't until two Wisconsin 12 year old girls grabbed national headlines by depicting the internet inspired attack of a mythical creature often depicted as a tall male featuring a thin figure, wearing a black suit with a blanked out face.

According to news reports, the girls are accused of stabbing their best friend 19 times as an attempt of carrying out the orders of the blank faced figure whom they hoped to please. It appeared the two girls wanted to impress Slenderman by killing their best friend. The girls told investigators they stabbed their best friend to impress the mythical creature. They insisted he was real and by killing someone he would be pleased by their actions and allow them to go live with him. After almost killing their best friend in the process, this fictional character has now gone mainstream.

The story of Slenderman provides a platform for teenagers that test their ideas and cultivate meaning. Each are inspired to collect, create and share their own stories. I, along with most of the general public and media have struggled to understand more about the online horror creature and why teenagers are so fascinated by him and anxious to please him.

According to the London's Daily Mail one brother spoke of his sister as to have "loved the Slender Man stories, just anything a bit creepy. But I don't see why it changed from dream to reality." He described his sister as being a "very quiet" girl who kept to herself, "but she was happy-go-lucky, so this is completely out of the blue."

We live in a society of violence then we wonder why people act out so violently and why there is so much violence in the world. These days, our culture seems to be saturated with violence. Most children are left alone after school or not properly monitored at home. The kids can see everything from shootings, stabbings, fights and killing on television or on a video game. When it comes to movies or video games, a rating system is in place, but parents need to provide guidance and determine what is appropriate for their children. We have to remember children are very easily influenced and each needs to be properly supervised. I believe it is up to parents to be aware of what their kids are doing online.

Today the LA Times reported, "Morgan Geyser, 12, will be examined to determine if she is competent to stand trial on a charge of first-degree attempted homicide, her lawyer, Anthony D. Cotton, told The Times. Anissa Weier, 12, is also charged in the case, but her lawyer did not request an examination. Both girls have been charged as adults."

Each girl remains in jail with bail set at $500,000 and are facing up to 60 years in prison if convicted as adults, but reports are surfacing they could be incarcerated to the age 25 if they are convicted as juveniles under current Wisconsin law.

The LA Times added, "The doctor will have 15 days to examine Geyser, Cotton said. The girls are due back in Waukesha County Circuit Court on July 2."

Learn how to protect your children online by visiting The National Children's Advocacy Center at: http://www.nationalcac.org/

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